I don’t know the etiquette about cross-posting and lifting posts from other bulletin boards. We had a nice dinner last week, that some have posted about already, there:
http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showthread.php?t=213600" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Hopefully, the Winos will join the discussion here.
NV Camille Saves Brut Rose
'90 Trimbach Clos Ste Hune
'90 Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile VT
The Comme Ca Burger
'02 Bond Melbury
'02 Bond St. Eden
'02 Colgin Cariad
Duo of Tenderloin and Paleron of Beef, spiced carrots, potatoes aligot
'97 Shafer Hillside
'99 Shafer Hillside
'01 Shafer Hillside
'02 Shafer Hillside
'04 Shafer Hillside
Roasted Rib Eye, arugula salad
'04 Abreu Madrona
'04 Abreu Thorevilos
'04 Colgin Cariad
Assiette de Trois Fromages
'97 Godineau Domaine de Petits Quarts Grain par Grain
'02 Robert Weil Riesling Auslese Kiedrich Grafenberg
My comments are as follows:
This dinner started as a Cult Cabs and Steak theme months ago. After a lot of dithering with Cut, they ultimately couldn’t meet our price constraints for a multi-course steak tasting (it would have been double the cost of the very fine meal that we enjoyed at Comme Ca). So we had Cult-ish Cabs at Comme Ca. All of the Cabs were served blind. All capsules were removed, all wines re-bagged at the restaurant, and I believe that no one knew the wines until the reveal at the end of the evening.
I had a lot of fun, as much in planning as attending. Each Wino provided a private list of those California Cabs in his cellar that defined as ‘cult-ish.’ The originals (Harlan, Bryant, Grace, Colgin, Maya, Abreu, SE, and Araujo) and those moving up the status steps (Bond, Shafer Hillside, Sloan, a couple of others). The boys came up with about 50 wines, covering a whole range of vintages.
The last flight was the easiest to choose: '04 Colgin Cariad, and the two Abreu wines ('04 Thorevilos and '04 Madrona) that come from the two vineyards that are the source for Cariad. We had other '04s on offer, but I thought this pairing would be interesting, if a tad young. It was both, with youth winning for the moment. All three wines are very primary and while all have the components to be very good in the future, are too unevolved to show very much now.
The first flight was originally going to have two different Bonds and two different Colgins from '02, but it didn’t work out. Rather than re-jiggering the other two flights around (doing all verticals, for example) I decided at the very last minute to slip in the Sloan (others considered: '02 Grace Family, '02 Araujo, '02 Abreu, '02 Quilceda as a ringer…). While it didn’t achieve the result I expected, it proved to be an interesting choice.
Finally, the middle flight. In my experience, the middle flight is usually the one that gets the most attention at these types of dinners. Everyone tends to rush through the first food course and the first wines either are consumed with the first course or held back for future musing. Fortunately, Comme Ca committed to sufficient stems for us to keep every wine on the table once opened. The best 5 vintages of Shafer out of the past 7 years ('97, '99, '01, '02, and '04). Paired with steak prepared two ways. The biggest flight and the largest food course. There was some risk of going back in age from the '02s in the first flight, but I didn’t want to break up the Shafers, nor did I want them first with the Comme Ca Burger. I think the Shafer flight ultimately suffered by following the mostly younger, richer '02s. But I really didn’t want to put them first for the reasons stated. Looking back, I think this was probably a mistake. We had already consumed a pretty large number of tarte flambees and MD’s Charcuterie and so my fear of racing through the first course and first flight proved to be incorrect. In retrospect, we should have had the Shafer flight and its accompanying food course first, with the '02 flight and burgers second.
Having said that, I still think the Shafer flight was interesting and consistent with a couple of rules: First, The 10-year Rule: There are always exceptions, but I am convinced that post '91 Cali Cab are at best consumed during their first 10 years. The '97 was nice on Wednesday, but a shadow of itself only 2 years ago. The '99 showed some musty aromas. The '01 was my wine of the flight and red wine of the night, edging out '02 Cariad from the first flight. '02 Hillside wasn’t as good as '01 (which I am finding to be more the case than not), and '04 was a baby. The second rule is that Shafer Hillside in a good vintage needs to rest for at least 2 years from release. At times these two rules conflict, but they are my rules and they work for me.
We began the night with two bottles of Camille Saves Brut Rose Grand Cru a Bouzy. Currently, my favorite nv rose sparkler. Hat-tip to the irrepressible Roberto R for introducing me to Camille Saves Rose 5 years or more ago. Can’t beat it for the price.
The next flight were two Alsatian Rieslings from my cellar. The hors d’œuvre were Alsatian in origin, I had just returned from Alsace and had a craving for aged Alsatian Riesling, so we drank '90 Trimbach Frederic Emile VT and '90 Trimbach Clos Ste Hune. 25+ years ago, Hubert Trimbach told me that Clos Ste Hune should be reserved for State Occasions. As someone mentioned on Wednesday, there seems to be a State Occasion weekly in France,so we probably served it on one (or close enough). While the CFE was no slouch and is a great wine, '90 CSH is my favorite of the vintage and in my pantheon of great white wines. Truth be told, it was my favorite wine of the night.
Worth mentioning, we ended the evening with a couple of sweeties: '97 Godineau Domaine des Petits Quarts Bonnezeaux Grains par Grain and '02 Robert Weil Riesling Auslese Kiedrich Grafenberg. The Weil was supposed to be a back-up in case we didn’t have enough wine, but I failed to communicate this to the wine server and, fortunately, he served it up. '97 Godineau is my all-time favorite Loire dessert wine and while the Weil was tasty, it was overwhelmed.
A very fun evening. Based on prior experience, collective and individual, I think were were all surprised that the plurality (5) preferred '02 Sloan as their red wine of the night, 4 preferring '02 Bond Melbury, 1 (me) preferring '01 Shafer Hillside, and 1 still deciding.