California Dinner Notes

Wine dinner with the Vancouver American Wine Society recently.
2000 King Estate Oregon Reserve Pinot Gris - clean citrus nose and a decent
little wine, but in our market, when BC produces many better PGs, not a
competitive wine.
with poached scallop with avocado and blue crab mousse.
2000 Sterling North Coast Chardonnay - the all too often experienced heavy oak
syndrome. I call it 'Woodbridge-itis' - oak = quality. As long as you have lots
of oak, you don't need elegance, complexity, or any of those other overrated
things that you wouldn't be able to detect past the picket fence of excess
quercosity anyway. OK, maybe this wasn't as bad as all that, but it had one
thing that was worse - it was boring.
2000 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Vineyard (Sonoma) Chardonnay - who opened the hot
buttered popcorn? No, really, that's what this smelled like. Clean and lemony,
it was better (for me anyway) than the Sterling.
with smoked ocean trout with crème fraiche and caviar on a blini
2000 Estancia Pinot Noir 'Pinnacles' (Monterey) - not bad. A pretty fair
varietal nose, sweet and simple, and balanced and decent on palate, if fading
and thinning a bit toward the end.
1998 Beringer Los Carneros Stanley Ranch Pinot Noir - hot slightly cooked nose,
bland simple wine, clearly inferior to the Estancia. Looked twice to make sure
it wasn't an experimental Amador Pinot…..
with what the restaurant called duck confit, but was really rillettes with
lentil and Gorgonzola pilaf
1999 Kenwood Old Vines Zinfandel (Lodi) - surprisingly light in colour, with a
pleasant berry nose, of medium weight and length.
1999 Valley of the Moon Zinfandel (Sonoma County) - I was surprised to find
that I preferred the VOM zin to the Kenwood. The nose was sweeter and riper and
it had that extra flavour concentration that made the difference. In
retrospect, and after years of experience with the Jack London Zins, the
Kenwood was a bit lackluster compared to what I have grown to expect.
with elk tenderloin, saffron potatoes and mushroom ragout
1998 Wente Charles Wetmore Reserve Cabernet (Livermore Valley - they found 3
bottles of this were corked! Not a good sign. The wine was pleasant however,
with a good bright nose and attractive balance. Nothing profound here, but nice
enough.
1998 J. Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate Cabernet - darker wine with a
very nice nose of currant and vanilla. Soft tannin, and a medium long mellow
finish made it the clear winner of this flight.
Reply to
Bill Spohn
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