3 Years, 3 Weeks, 3 Great Wines, And Then We Feasted
Four gorgeous bottles of wine.
L ast week Dan wrote about our three year anniversary of doing the Bottle Report web site. I didn’t want the occasion to pass without making some note of it, too. This has been and continues to be great fun.
I actually started writing about wine more than four years ago when Kate Metts and Sherry Foster at Augusta Magazine asked me to starting writing a wine column for them. I didn’t think I knew enough about wine to write about it (and I’m still not sure I do), but they said we’d give it a try and see what happened.
Teri toasting our anniversary.
It turned out many people in the Augusta area love to drink wine and to talk about it, and to read about it. I later started writing a weekly review column for The Augusta Chronicle, and that’s when Dan suggested we start a web site.
The people in the wine industry both local and around the world have been extremely helpful. They have educated me about wine and given me an appreciation for how hard they work to bring us all these wonderful wines. I have gone to California 2-3 times a year and plan to visit France this fall.
More than 150 columns and numerous other posts later, we’re still telling you about all the great wines we come across. As long as Dan and the long-suffering Mrs. Dan continue to keep the web site going, I’ll be helping them with content.
So I decided to have some special wines to celebrate this anniversary as well as my three-week wedding anniversary. The theme was three years, three weeks, three great wines. And then on the fourth night we had feasting wine.
Caymus Cab and Chicago pizza.
We started with one of my favorites, Caymus Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. It’s a great Napa Valley Cab year in and year out. It’s my Chronicle column this week, so you’ll be able to read all about it in a few days. We had it with one of my favorite foods, deep dish Chicago pizza. What a memorable night. A great way to kick off the celebration.
Then we opened a bottle of Constant 2002 Claret from their Diamond Mountain Vineyards. It was sublime. I bought a case of this several years ago, and it keeps getting better. I think it’s about at its peak now, so I’m searching the cellar to see if there are any others that need immediate drinking.
When I first bought the wine I took it on a guys’ ski trip. We opened it with dinner and it was almost undrinkable. I left it uncorked for 24 hours and when we tried it with dinner the next night it was incredible, full of bold tannins, lush fruit and powerful mouthfeel.
Most of the oak and tannins have mellowed out, leaving just the beautiful fruit. The wine is incredibly complex and lush. It kept changing with every sip. The wine more than made up for the so-so steaks.
Caymus and Constant.
The wine is a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is grown at the top of the Diamond Mountain appellation in the Napa Valley. The winery says it may be the highest (2,121 feet), oldest (1895), and smallest vineyard in Napa. Only 197 cases were bottled.
Robert Sinskey and Bennett Lane.
The third night we had the SLD Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Sinskey Vineyards 2004. It’s made from organic grapes in the Stags Leap District of Napa Valley. Another incredible wine, one we paired with leftover deep dish pizza.
It’s a beautiful wine from a beautiful property off the Silverado Trail. The winery is a showcase, with a fantastic kitchen that prepares food tailored to go with each wine at a tasting.
I thought the SLD (which stands for Stags Leap District) was wonderful with the pizza. At eight years old, the harsh tannins and smoothed out, leaving a powerful, elegant wine that goes well with food. There is plenty of blackberry and plum in the taste, with some minerality. It’s still a powerful wine, but the delicate nuances of the fruit are predominant now. Only 21 barrels of this wine were made.
“We’ve been drinking some incredible wines,” said bride Teri. I figure I’ve got to do something to keep her interested, so I keep opening the good stuff.
To finish off the flurry of celebrations, We had Bennett Lane Maximus White Feasting Wine 2009 with a great seafood casserole that we bought frozen at King’s Market on Edisto Island on our honeymoon.
The wine is incredibly lush and complex, a mix of 87% Sauvignon Blanc, 11% Chardonnay, and 2% Muscat. The wine is smooth and elegant, with flavors of orange and nectarine. It was aged in stainless steel, giving it the crispness that makes it such a good summer wine.
The Maximus is great with all kinds of seafood, as well as something you can sip on the porch watching the sun go down.
I kind of hate to see the anniversary celebrations end. So I guess I’ll just keep looking through the cellar, and our local wine shops, for more great wines.
Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, $68
Constant Diamond Mountain Claret 2002, $80
Robert Sinskey SLD Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, $80
Bennett Lane Maximus 2009, $28