>Customer Dinner in Sonoma

>This past week, Santa Rosa Fine Wine hosted an impromptu dinner in Sonoma with a good customer of ours from Germany! Always look forward to a visit by our German friends. When they come to the area, always get the opportunity to taste good German Riesling, and this was no exception!

The dinner was planned on very short notice, so no time to plan what exactly we would be drinking. Simply grabbed a few bottles of older California Cabernet, a Lillian Syrah, and off to the races we go! On meeting our good friends, was pleasantly surprised to be presented a Wittmann Riesling! Have become a big fan of German Riesling over the last few years, and having never had a Morstein Wittmann before, was pretty excited to try the wine.

Flight 1:

2008 Wittmann Morstein Westhofen Riesling Trocken GG – The wine was out of this world delicious and my personal wine of the night. 2008 was not a particularly great year for German Riesling, especially when compared to the awesome 2007’s, but this one was an exception! The wine was loaded with rich minerality, distinct lemon and citrus flavors with crisp acidity perfectly in balance with the fruit. Give the wine a few years of cellar aging, and you will be well rewarded.

Flight 2:

1975 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour – One of great original California Cult producers, always enjoy visiting an older BV GDL. The 1975 was very interesting, on first opening, was funky on the nose. Set the wine aside for a bit, and it blew off completely. Find it very common in aged California wines to get some initial nose funk, and with a good producer like BV, it is generally wise to not rush to judgement. In time, it opened up into a lovely medium to full bodied wine of butterscotch, baked dark fruits, plums, and surprisingly firm tannin.

1983 Heitz Martha Cabernet Sauvignon – Classic Heitz Martha that could have been picked out easily in a blind tasting. Eucalyptus, mint, fresh cut grass and stewed fruits dominated the wine. The bottle condition was excellent, and the wine elegant. While I thought the Wittmann was the best wine, most others thought the Heitz Martha was wine of the night. It was fun to compare notes in relation to the Heitz Martha, our friend just had a 1969 Heitz Martha and myself, a 1974 Heitz Martha. Arguably, Heitz Martha could be considered a model of consistency, the only change being variations in the level of concentration and overall intensity from year to year.

Flight 3:

1994 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – This wine was just ok. A little riper than expected, distinct oak, medium bodied and fully mature. Having had quite a few old and new Beringer Private Reserve Cabernets, quickly coming to the conclusion they are best in their youth and not necessarily the best age worthy wines. 1994 was an excellent year for Napa Cabernet, and this particular bottle was not representative. Will have to revisit the wine in the future.

1999 Caymus Napa Cabernet Sauvignon – Similar to the Beringer Private Reserve, thought the Caymus was also just ok. Thought it was better than the Beringer, had a little more structure and balance, more acidity and aging to expectations. While the Beringer had some beginning signs of oxidation, it was absent in the Caymus. The wine was not a thrill to drink, was relatively lean, oaky, with dryer fruits.

Flight 4:

2006 Lillian Syrah – Having had this wine probably 6 times now, brought the wine as a curiousity for the rest of the dinner guests to see what they thought? For those that have not had Lillian, it has more in common with a good Sine Qua Non than any other Syrah made today. In fact, it was strikingly similar to the 2006 Sine Qua Non Raven Syrah. The Lillian had huge blue and black fruits, pleasant sweetness and a creamy texture in a huge mouth feel wine. The alcohol is very high in this wine, but would not realize it when tasting. The group thought it was so big, that it would be hard to drink a full bottle! We only got through about half!

Cheers to many more customer dinners!

Nick Wittman
Santa Rosa Fine Wine

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