My tasting group gathered at the house for my annual turn. I did not have any real theme, but everyone in the group likes older reds but they always complain when I don't pour some of my favorite German wines. So I decided to take care of both.
We started with a couple of warm up wines.
The 2002 Heymann-Lowenstein Riesling Uhlen 'Roth Lay' was a very rich dry wine that showed lots of minerality, but did not have great flavor focus. I need to re-taste the wine tonight.
A 2005 Kerpen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese* was good, but not great. It also lacked focus (too soon after the travel from Europe?), but had very nice, ripe fruit flavors and decent acidity. Nice wine, but not a world beater by any stretch.
Then it was on to the tasting proper. All wines served blind and opened (with an ounce poured off to check for cork/other faults) an hour ahead.
- 1994 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon - USA, California, Napa Valley (9/5/2006)
Very good but not outstanding Cabernet. Showed a bit thin on stuffing for its tannins. Some good fruit, earth and herb flavors, but it had a very short finish.
- 1994 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon Réserve Spéciale - USA, California, Sonoma County (9/5/2006)
Delicious red and black fruit, good balance of tannins, fruit and acid, and a lingering finish. This is jsut getting to be mature, but has the fruit and tannin to carry it several more years.
- 1995 Qupé Syrah Reserve Bien Nacido - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (9/5/2006)
Fully mature, shwoing black fruit, earth and herbal aromas and flavors. Softening but still present tannins keep everything in balance. Excellent wine.
- 1996 Ojai Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard - USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley (9/5/2006)
This is still a very young wine. Lots of primary fruit, but the beginnings of a leathery/sweaty nuance. Excellent structural balance and capable of significant further age.
- 2004 Schmitges Erdener Prälat Riesling Spätlese Alte Reben - Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer, Mosel (9/5/2006)
Just off-dry. Very minerally with tropical fruit elements. Excellent balance and a long, mineral dominated finish.
- 2004 Weingut Josef Leitz Rüdesheimer Berg Schloßberg Riesling Spätlese - Germany, Rheingau (9/5/2006)
Excellent fruit (tropical), solid but not dominant acids and a long, fruit finish. The mineral elements are buried under a lot of fruit and a little botrytis right now. This needs and can support lots of aging.
- 1996 Kurt Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Rieslaner Auslese - Germany, Pfalz (9/5/2006)
Surprisingly good balance for a '96, with burnished tropical fruit and a long and refreshing finish. Drinking well now.
- 2001 Kurt Darting Dürkheimer Nonnengarten Rieslaner Auslese - Germany, Pfalz (9/5/2006)
Lots of concentration and fruit flavors. Very rich mouthfeel and still plenty of road to go before it hits peak. Significantly better balance than the '96.
A good night. I gave very good to outstanding scores to all the wines. Our lowest scorer was 15.5/20 (UC Davis scoring system) with the highest at 18.2/20.