On March 29, the Hawaii Wine-Os welcomed my Chicago Wine Mafia buddy, Otisabdul. We gathered at the Haggis residence in east Honolulu. It was a lovely evening, with slight trade wind blowing (thankfully, as it had been windy as hell for the past couple of weeks).
In attendance, were Otis, Chris O, 1kailuaboy, tylerhi, Russ’n’karla, James and Jane R. Food was incredible! Russ’ seared foie gras on raisin bread with a light chutney was amazing, as were is German sausage. Chris’ tri-tip was fantastic! James, being a fellow Scot, brought a version of haggis (haha!) that was delicious (really, I kid you not). 1kailuboy’s rice with pork, etc., was excellent, as was tyler’s pork and chicken. Topped it off with my roasted ribeye with kona coffee rub, Kailua salt.
But, the stars of the night were the wines. As is becoming a tradition with the Hawaii Wine-O offlines, there was not a clunker in the group.
2007 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay (USA, California, Napa Valley)
Contributed by Haggis. I always enjoy Montelena chards. As is typical, this is filled to the brim with slightly tart apple, sweet pear, and a slight hint of peach. Limited oak gives this a steely minerality that I like a lot. 91.
2007 Domaine Alfred Chardonnay Chamisal Vineyards (USA, California, Central Coast, Edna Valley)
Contributed by James R. Nice expression of tropical fruit, most notably lychee, along with apple and pear. A little oaky. 90.
2008 Neyers Chardonnay Carneros (USA, California, Napa Valley, Carneros)
Contributed by Chris O. Very nice. Pear, peach, melon, and some floral aromas. Hints of vanilla with sweet oak. 91.
2005 J. Rochioli Pinot Noir Little Hill (USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley)
Contributed by tylerhi (I think!). I have always like many of the Rochioli pinots, and this was no exception. A great earthy nose. Up-front fruit, primarily strawberry, raspberry. Nicely filled out by spice, earth, and dusty tannins. 92.
2007 The Paring Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California)
Contributed by Russ. This was a new one for me. I believe Matt Dees is the winemaker and is owned by Screaming Eagle. Jornata is also part of the wine portfolio. I don’t know the varietals, but I think it is cabernet, merlot, and petite verdot. Anyway, this is a very nicely structured wine from young vines that seems made for early drinking. Black fruit, cedar, oak. Tannic, but not over done. 90.
1991 Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard (USA, California, Napa Valley)
Contributed by Otis. Dynamite! Needs decanting for sediment, but drinking great right out of the bottle. Bricking. Blackberry, dark cherry, spice, chocolate, and a hint of caramel. Nice acidity, and definitely has more fruit than tannin. Bordeaux-like in character and finesse. Elegant. This is at peak, so drink up. 94.
1991 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve (USA, California, Napa Valley)
Contributed by 1kailuaboy. What a great comparison to the 1991 Phelps. Dark cherry, with mocha, cedar. Silky and nicely resolved. Little noticeable bricking. This seemed more robust and youthful than the Phelps (i.e., more typically Napa style than the Phelps). At peak. 93.
1994 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon (USA, California, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District)
Contributed by 1kailuaboy. Savory and herbal nose. Slight bricking around the edges. Dark dark fruit, with nice meaty notes, and filled out with cinnamon and chocolate. Green pepper lingering in the background. Good tannic oaky grip. 93.
2005 Sheridan Vineyard Cabernet Franc (USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley)
Contributed by tylerhi. I have not had a Sheridan cab franc, so this was a pleasant treat. Made by Scott Greer from young (1997) vines. Surprisingly easy drinking. Nice slightly meaty cherry and blackberry, and clove. A welcome flora aromas that I like in a cab franc. Pretty wine. 90.
2003 Sean Thackrey Orion Rossi Vineyard Syrah (USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena)
Contributed by Haggis. I have an admitted weakness for the Orion. Raspberry, smoke, coffee, smoke, eucalyptus. This just keeps changing and morphing during the course of an evening. 90.
2009 SonkinCellars Persona White Hawk/Alder Springs Syrah (USA, California)
Contributed by Haggis. Had to kill one of these to see what the hell it is all about. Well, this has loads of blackberry, spice, and earth. This has a dose of viognier in the blend, but I don’t know how much. I will say that the viognier gives this a distinct peachiness that was off-putting at first. Later, with more air (after a 3 hour decant), the peach seemed to be blended in a little more. I am not sure what the long term holds for this, but the dollop of viognier seems to suggest a wine for near term drinking (3-5 years after vintage). 89.
2004 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel (USA, California, Sonoma County, Dry Creek Valley)
Contributed by James R. Always find Rafanelli to be an elegant zin. Plum, currant, pepper, and cedar. Dusty, powdery tannins. Elegant. Peaking, but not there yet. 92.
1997 Smith Woodhouse Porto Late Bottled Vintage (Portugal, Douro, Porto)
Contributed by Haggis. Chris and Russ lit up some Cubans on the back lanai, so I popped this everyday port. Blackberry, cocoa, chocolate, and distinctly floral. Nice. 89.
2001 Château Guiraud (France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes)
Contributed by Otis. Wow! I have some of these and was wondering what they are doing, so it was a pleasant surprise when Otis pulled this out if his bag. Beautiful golden color. Packed with apricot, candied orange, marzipan, honey, crème brulée. Intense! 94.