CLONYC 50 & Mike Pobega: Attention should be paid

CLONYC 50 has come and gone with only a brief reference in a post on another topic. This remarkable achievement deserves a thread of its own. It was certainly the most relaxed CLONYC event I have been to. In place of Mike’s carefully calibrated pours the wines were plopped on the table and tasted in groups of three. The 2008 Marston Family Cabernet was the only bottle with a visible label. Mike had a good idea of what the other bottles were, but the rest of us were looking at foil. The wines were a mini-history of all the CLONYC events and ranged from a 1975 Mayacamas (in magnum) to a 2013 Scarlett Cabernet that one participant likened to a barrel sample. There was an offering from Pennsylvania and a Syrah from Saxum. I did not take notes because I never do and, anyway, Mike does a great job of summarizing the wines. This time, however, no post from Mike . . . yes, he’s tired, grateful that he has come so far with these dinners and drinkers and content to let the experience speak for itself.

So, hopefully, others will chime in with their notes on Jones Family and Schrader and Shafer Hillside, et al. The Mayacamas was magnificent–the nose alone made a stunning statement. I am blessed to have been able to smell it and taste it. I am grateful to Steve Eisenhauer who brought it and to Mike who made it possible. So many wines and winemakers over so many years . . . Thank you Mike for your hard work, your attention to detail, your passion and for bringing us together time and time again to eat drink and be merry.


It was a fun night. Brought a 2004 Maybach Materium to commemorate clonyc-10.

Thanks for the kind words, Ray. It has certainly been a labor of love. It’s hard to believe we reached 50. There were times where I wanted to drop the tent but I always seemed to stay in there. CLONYC has been very good to me as I believe to many others as well, some here, some not and for all it has given me, I am thankful and humbled. I have made many new friends and learned much about wine even if I have not done my cholesterol any good, a lifetime of statins is worth it…

I did write some sparse notes. I enjoyed the Schrader but found the overall feel of the night more about the company than the wines. I always enjoy the laughs we have, some even at my expense. J

2012 Sojourn Pinot Noir Rodgers Creek- Pretty nose, nice balance, fragrant and lithe and just amazing.

1975 Mayacamas Cabernet sauvignon (magnum)- We had this at CLONYC 8 from 2/2008. That night I absolutely loved it. it was fresh and vibrant. Tonight still wonderful and shows a robustness and spice I enjoy albeit a bit tired. Fades quick too.

1998 Allegro Vineyards Cadenza Blend (Pennsylvania)- leave it to Steve to bring such an appropriate outlier. He had brought this blind to my home a bunch of years back and it impressed. Tonight it did once again. It shows pure eucalyptus with blue/black fruits. It never will be confused with a high-end offering from Napa but it’s a fun bottle nonetheless.

2009 Schrader Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer GIII- These are always bold and dense but always pure and precise. Blackberry infused and cassis driven with some pretty florals that these 7 years Schraders start showing well I loved it.

2013 Scarlett Cabernet Sauvignon- my first time trying this. Love the red-black fruits. These always show a plush mid-palate. This will be an amazing bottle in about 6 years. Wish I had some.

2008 Marston Cabernet Sauvignon- this showed quite youthful still and I could not really get past the popcorn thing it was exhibiting.

2006 Shafer Hillside select- always a joy to have on my table.

2004 Maybach Materium- This shows a woody side I have not really seen yet. I have had it about 8 times.

2003 Pahlmeyer-

2012 Saxum Bone Rock – Everyone pegged this for a Cabernet. Not sure what else I can say about that.

2006 Jones Family Cabernet Sauvignon Estate- one of my past favorites that has seen its better days. I found it a bit annoying to dink on this night. It had a rough edge to it.

The Schrader really opened up by time we got back to it again. It was beautiful. It had 3 WOTN votes. (out of 9). The Maybach had 4 votes and the Mayacamsas had two. Thanks to all for bringing such great bottles.

Thanks to Mike for putting all these dinners together. It’s a lot of work and I don’t know if we can ever convey our full gratitude, but we can try. I’ve probably been to about 35 of the 50 (sometimes I’ve been out west working on my wines) and they have all been interesting, but, more importantly, fun. People have come and gone but it’s been a great ride. The Allegro might have been better tonight than on the previous occasion Mike had it. It has aged pretty gracefully. I am amazed what the late John Crouch was able to do in that little microclimate in York County. Sadly, I have only a couple of bottles left from his efforts. That last one will hit me hard - really hard. I learned as much about winemaking from long talks with him as I did anywhere else.

The other wines, I found too much similarity. Well, not the Rodgers Creek, the only pinot in the array, which remains my favorite bottling from Sojourn and the Mayacamas, which revealed many faces during the night. Thank god I brought a magnum, because it gave many opportunities to revisit the wine with a fresh pour to see the new profile.

The Saxum Bone Rock was a shocker.

But, really, this was all about Mike, as it should have been. [cheers.gif]