85 Mayacamas (!)
93 Heitz Bella Oaks (!)
94 Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve
95 Benziger Imagery Series Cab Franc
96 Villa Mt. Eden Cab Franc
By vote for top three:
Roll Call: Ruthie, Steve, Debby, Dan, Brad, A. David
My Tasting Rating (0-10): 8
A certifiably wonderful wine dinner! All wines very good or excellent and the in-season halibut with a sauteed mushroom sauce actually went well with the red wines.
Notes: What a lineup! And at what might be Debby's and Dan's last Wed. eve. event with us. They are moving to another planet: Glendale. We'll keep them on the email list. And furthermore, it's Ruthie's and Steve's 31st Wedding Anniversary! (Gawrsh, the only thing I can celebrate is gettin' another day older and deeper in debt.)
That '95 Benziger was in everyone's top three. Clearly a fantastic bottle of wine. And for a cab franc up against the likes of 85 Mayacamas (which surprisingly did not show well at all) and 93 Heitz Bella Oaks, that's quite an accomplishment. Deep black fruit flavors along the lines of blueberries and plums. Surprisingly balanced. Just about peaked, but would be curious how it drinks next year.
Not to sell the '93 Heitz Bella Oaks short. It was right up there. I look for the mint/eucalyptus thing in all Heitz products, this one didn't have it. It did have wonderful chocolate and concentrated fruit nose and gracious aging for just 7 yrs has mellowed this one to a clear reflection of the Heitz of the mid-80's. Heitz is really making a comeback with some nicely balanced and structured wines.
The '96 Marrietta was the acknowledged fruit bomb. Layers and layers of fruit flavors in the nose and on the palate. Ready to drink and probably should be within the next two yrs.
The '93 Mayacamas was disappointingly closed and unwilling to give up what was there. I couldn't tell if it was just going through a dumb phase or there really was not much in the depths. Still drinkable, but I want to know what else is in there.
General comment: All the wines were very good! Usually standalone cab franc does not do well against cab sauv which can have more balance and structure. But both cab francs were excellent. If I had to drink just one of any of these wines for the rest of my life, I'd die happy.
(Click on thumbnail for full-sized image)