TN: LP, Rhys, Chapoutier, Caymus, Quintessa, Lewis & Kracher


Last night, my wife and i were joined by our friends Robert and Carrie for dinner at one of our favorite downtown restaurants. It was a casual meal that lasted 4 hours ass we ate, talked, drank and laughed! Very comfortable, the food and service were great, as for the wines:
A nice starter. Served with a spoonful of some Amuse Bouche (it was very good).

  • NV Laurent-Perrier Champagne Cuvée Rosé Brut - France, Champagne
    Salmon/orange in color. The nose is big with very nice strawberries, orange peel, some ginger and rhubarb. Lots of small bubbles. On the palate, there is a lot of red fruit; strawberries, cherries and slight citrus notes. A nice mineral streak. Good acidity. Very round yet enough cut to work alone and with some food. Really tasty. Going back after dinner, it had opened a little more. There is some value here in the Rose world too. (92 pts.)

With fried Brussels sprouts and then vindaloo cauliflower.

  • 2010 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
    Allowed to breathe for 30 minutes. This took about another half hour to really get going. Its young but not a baby. Light golden in color. The nose is great with lemon curd and vanilla but also a crisp mineral note. On the palate, wonderful creamy texture. The lemon vanilla note carry thru but in layers intertwined with minerals (almost gravelly) along with enough acidity to carry the food. Long finish. This is delicious and also really interesting as it has great complexity. No hurry, but really worth checking in on now IMO. (96 pts.)
  • 1991 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Blanc De L’Orée - France, Rhône, Northern Rhône, Hermitage
    OK, coming after the Rhys, this took some time and food to readjust. A completely different animal and perhaps also needed some air to open. Golden in color. The nose is exquisite. A 100 point nose of honey, wax, floral notes, minerals and slight red grapefruit. Admittedly, not as good on the palate as the nose, but still amazing. Once it opened, there are layers of beeswax, minerals, chalk and honey. Enough acidity to carry food. I had it with a spicy vindaloo cauliflower and it was a great match IMO. The wine was big enough to stand up to the heat yet there was a synergy of flavors. It does show some age and there is an ever so slight oxidation to the wine. Not a lot and I loved that aspect but its pretty obvious to say at 25 years from vintage, this is ready to drink. A prior bottle I had of this was completely shot, but looking at the bottle, this was significantly lighter. (95 pts.)


  • 2011 Quintessa - USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
    This si a solid wine, but probably not up to typical Quintessa standards. It was a tough vintage for many. Purple/ruby in color. The nose is nice with cassis, cherries, roasted herbs and spice. On the palate, full bodied with good cherry fruit. Some charred wood and licorice too. It doesn’t have that third gear but what is there is very nice. There are some tannins. I am not sure how well these 11’s will age. I know that 98 and 00 have aged very well IMO so time will tell I guess. No harm in drinking now though as it is an excellent wine. (92 pts.)
  • 2011 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection - USA, California, Napa Valley
    Talk all you want about Caymus or the 2011 vintage, this is an amazing wine that needs no qualifications. Robert, who brought it said he had 5 more. My advice was to let them sit for at least 5 year probably ten, unless we were having dinner together again. :wink: Purple in color. The nose is cassis, blueberries, black raspberry notes, floral (violets?), and spice/coffee. Great lush but muscular texture. This is a powerful wine that at first dominates the palate, then spread out in waves. Lots of black raspberries and blueberries but half way thru a chocolate note shows up and gets stronger until the finish. Firm tannins. Long finish. Yet as powerful as this was, this works well with my pasta dish. Along with Screaming Eagle, this is the best Cab I have had from 2011. And its best days are ahead. (97 pts.)
  • 2011 Lewis Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley - USA, California, Napa Valley
    The night was young, so we had one more 2011 Cab. This was pop and pout which i think is fine for this. Purple/ruby. Very similar to a bottle a couple of months ago. Nice nose of cassis, some cherries, some charred wood, but also a distracting green note. Then i called it celery IIRC, but tonight it was more bell pepper. Luckily, the green does not show up on the palate. Nice black raspberry, cherries and licorice. Medium tannins. Nice balance. Good finish. It is an excellent wine but I doubt it gets much better than this. No hurry but no reason to wait. (92 pts.)

and Buttered popcorn pot de crème CARAMEL, SEA SALT

  • 2001 Alois Kracher Cuvée Beerenauslese - Austria, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee
    This has developed nicely. At the “bottom rung” of Kracher dessert wines I suppose, it is hitting its stride. No hurry, but probably at peak. Golden in color. The nose has peach marmalade. Maybe some honey and just a hint of burnt sugar. Very nice. Slightly sweet on the palate. Good acidity. Worked great with our desserts. While not cloying, a little goes a long way. Long finish. A tasty end to a great meal. (91 pts.)

Robert and Carrie, we need to do this more often. We had a great time. Thanks.
Posted from CellarTracker

What a tasting! Quintessa was the first ecologically-friendly wineI had. My experience was that the 1998 didn’t behave very well at even just six years old. Younger bottles were nice; maybe it shut down? I will have to ask my brother, as he had a case of the '98’s back then.