During our recent visit to San Diego, enjoyed attending a California Wine Dinner at Quarter Kitchen. The restaurant was excellent and a great venue for a wine dinner. On this occassion, it was decided to taste all wines blind. The group tasted three flights of four wines, and ranked each wine per flight. It was a larger than normal group, so pours were relatively small not allowing an opportunity to revisit in time and see how they develop.
As often happens at wine dinners, a wine shows up that is not to theme, in this case a few Bordeaux. As luck would have it, a 2000 Cheval Blanc was brought, and turned out to be the wine of the night by a long shot! All wines opened are sorted in order of personal preference by flight.
2004 Taittinger Champagne – Honey, medium bodied, crisp, nice acid balance, touch of creaminess, an easy drinking start to the evening.
2006 Kongsgaard Judge Chardonnay – Initially very simple, no nose, in time more lemon and lime citrus, a tight young wine that leaned to the white burgundy end of the wine spectrum.
2008 Aubert Hyde and Sons Chardonnay – A close second place, far sweeter, cotton candy, balanced and oily. More creamy and balanced than the Kongsgaard, enjoyable young.
2008 Aubert Ritchie Chardonnay – Similar to the Hyde and Sons, sweeter, but with a little more spice. Some unexpected funk on the finish that never quite went away.
2004 Kistler Vine Hill Chardonnay – Deeper yellow color, full bodied, yeast, hazel nut and mildly floral. Did not find this wine particularly appealing.
2002 Kuleto Reserve Cabernet- Dark berry, minty, spice, soy and chocolate, a very nice drinking wine that had Bordeaux leanings, a restrained and elegant wine.
2006 Ghost Horse Shadow – Tannic, black licorice, bitter coffee, an interesting wine that was quite enjoyable, and not far separated from either the Kuleto or Shafer Hillside Select.
2003 Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet – Rich, good tannin and menthol. A very nice drinking wine that was close, but not quite to the level of the Ghost Horse or Kuleto.
2008 12C Georges III Cabernet – Very ripe style of wine, vanilla, full bodied, bright red fruit, a solid representation of the Georges III vineyard. Should improve considerably with age.
2006 Myriad Las Madres Syrah – A lovely cold climate Syrah. Clean, pure, stemy, awesome floral aromatics, think Myriad consistently over performs on their Las Madres Syrah.
2005 Grand Reve Reserve Syrah – Far more flashy than the 2006 Myriad, more powerful, exotic, sweet, pure and muscular. Like the Myriad, a gorgeous wine, but for very different reasons.
2008 Myriad 100% Whole Cluster Las Madres Syrah – Similar to the 2006 Myriad, stemy, blue fruits, a little bigger style and more course. A solid showing.
2006 Samsara Alder Springs Syrah – Disjointed, simple, lacking character, one of the few wines I struggled to think of something nice to say.
2000 Cheval Blanc – Wine of the night by a long shot! Expected it to be way too young, but with a quick decant, and a little time in the glass, improved considerably. The definition of a perfect Bordeaux, perfectly balanced, highly complex, chewy, mineral, leather, meat, exotic. A wow wine!
2000 Pape Clement – Did not particularly enjoy the Pape Clement, just an ok wine. Some animal and game, which is typically a nice thing, but not well put together in this wine. Overshadowed and dominated by the Cheval Blanc.
Cheers to a wonderful tasting with a generous group of friends in San Diego!
Santa Rosa Fine Wine