The Obligatory Birthday Post!

This post comes to you a bit behind schedule, due to a few unforeseen circumstance last week, but after an awesome birthday night in two weeks ago with a stellar line up wines I had to get these thoughts out there!

Another year has passed. Hard to believe but it seems the last 3-4 years have just flown by (no rest for the wicked I guess!).

For the most part 2013 and early 2014 were pretty easy going. Looking back there wasn’t a whole lot that went awry. That isn’t to say that the last year didn’t have its moments, but all in all being 26 seemed to be pretty hunky dory. The whole “not being taken seriously in your mid-20s” thing has continued to get old but I am officially on the other side!

photo-5Before diving into my early-late 20s it was time to break out some of the good stuff for a casual night in with some of my best friends here in Napa. For those of you who follow me on the Book of Face, Twitters or the Instagrams (#nofilter), you probably saw the lineup. As soon as it hit the interweb I started receiving questions on how those wines were showing so without further ado here are my thoughts on those bad boys:

2000 Kalin Cellars Semillon
Originally I thought I received this wine by mistake but it turns out I was wrong. For a 13.5 year old Semillon there was some decent life left in the bottle. It was… interesting, but in a good way. Interesting enough to keep going back for a few sips but after that the cotton candy notes really ramped up (which is fine if you are into that kind of thing).

2004 Ghost Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
Luckily I know a guy so I didn’t have to actually buy this Cab (lord knows I can’t afford it… yet). At nearly 10 years of age it still had some rough edges but the steak we grilled up helped to smooth those out. Very dark and brooding. Remember to put on your big boy/girl pants on if you get into this realm. It was cool to taste how this Cab had evolved over the course of almost a decade; though will be even cooler to taste it down the road a ways.

1987 Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
By far the best vintage of wine every created in the history of the universe (true story). I was glad that this guy was in a magnum otherwise it might not have made the cut for the night. It took a while to open up but after about 20-30 minutes in the glass it really started to shine. A bit of fruit still hanging around, the oak was really REALLY subtle and there seemed to be a lot of tannin still intact. This ’87 had that ‘yum’ factor which was awesome. Having tasted this wine on the regular over the last few years it has been hit or miss. This one sunk the battleship.

2002 Ghost Horse Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine was pretty much right on the money. As far as Napa Cabs go it was right in my wheelhouse. If you haven’t figured it out just yet palate tends to lean towards the Old World (even though I hate that term) but there are always exceptions that prove the rule. Tasting really well right now with a long looooooong way to go if you could stand holding onto it. Similar to the ’04 but that rough edge was traded for silk or cashmere.

photo 11984 Raymond Vineyards Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and 1986 Cheval Blanc
These two wines are grouped together for one reason: they left me conflicted. If the tie went to the runner I would say the ’84 Raymond had the Cheval Blanc beat (SURPRISE!!). But comparing these two wines, or any of the wines we had, is comparing apples and oranges. As my dad said that night, “It isn’t about which one you like the best. It is all about which one(s) do you like enough to put into your cellar.” I will tell you what, I am checking in to see if I can snag any more of that ’84 while I am at work this week and if I happen to stumble upon another ’86 Cheval Blanc I will probably pull the trigger… and then watch my creditcard catch fire. These two wines were so damn good.

photo 2

The Raymond Private Reserve was extremely youthful; very bright fruits and acidity. The tannins had mellowed quite a bit allowing it to be, for the lack of a better word, perfect. The 1986 Cheval Blanc was everything I wanted it to be. It had plenty of strength and that old world funk that I love so very much. It too was extremely smooth and unassuming. I would even call it an easy drinking crowd-pleaser any day of the week but it was still geeky enough to make us crazy winos stop in our tracks.

Beyond that lineup I FINALLY sabered not one but TWO bottles of bubbly successfully. For that I gave myself a pat on the back then ran back to the wine table to fill ‘er up.

Not bad for a cold rainy night!


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