Sunday, August 28, 2011


The night before Wine night and all through the house (ooops...wrong story)...there was wood fired pizza night at Dana and Matt's New Outdoor Pizza Oven Kitchen.  This certainly set the tone for the eating and wine tasting weekend.....with just the BEST pizzas I have every eaten (along with some great Paso wines).....good food, wine and of course, the Chef and Cheftress:  My son in law and daughter!  That said.......

Our Wine Night Started out with quite a KICK (from Kick Ranch that is!)!!  As the 4 other wine affecianados arrived....they were served a 2010 Bevan Cellars Sauvignon Blanc...and that set the tone for the evening with quite a KICK...  A strong vibrant blast of grapefruit, citrus and tropical fruits....which left everyone saying saying:  WHERE can I get THIS?  Well.....unfortunately....Russell sold out of the we'll be looking for the 2011.

After an appropriate time period.....4 brown bagged bottles, numbered 1-4 were placed on the table.....each to be blind tasted:  Poured, viewed, sniffed, sipped, savored, reviewed and rated!  All we knew was:  2 bottles from Paso.....and 2 bottles from Napa........after a fun evening of eating, sipping, dissecting, tasting, eating some more, re-tasting....changing our notes and reviews (and scores)....taking over 3 hours...each bottle was discussed....scores were added up....and the bottles then unwrapped and revealed.

The Napa Line Up:
Anomaly, a 2006 Classic Cabernet.  Soft, sensual, well balanced with a defining flavor of blueberry (so says my wife), light tannins and just oooohhh sooooo smooth and mellow.....this just got better and better as it was paired with the appetizers around the table.  There certainly is no Anomaly about the sensual pleasures this winery produces.....for anyone lucky enough to have ever experienced a bottle (or two).

Heitz Cellars, Martha's Vineyard Cabernet....1986!  Wait!  Was that a typo?  1986?? Paul (THE collector of our group), has been enjoying, buying and collecting wines for about 30 years...and was kind enough to share this rare gem with us.  Designated a Cellar Selection by Wine Spectator...WAYYYYY back in "the day"....everyone picked this as a Cabernet during the blind tasting.  A Cabernet yes, but soooo different from the cabs we generally drink and are used to.   Earthy and subtly robust (is that a conundrum?), with beautiful coloration....still spicy, somewhat earthy and with a full mouth feel.  Imagine our surprise when this wine was unveiled and we saw this was a 1986!  Thank you Paul, for sharing this 25 year old gem from your cellar.  Certainly, something we would never have experienced.

The Paso Lineup
Aha!  Let's throw a little confusion into the mix now!  While brown bagged....this big Paso wine was a definite fruit bomb....complex and layered....a wonderful nose of black fruits....flavors going from cherry, to leather to subtle spice yet not overpowering....definitely NOT syrah based, which would be normally expected from a big Paso behind bag #3 was
Denner Vineyards, 2008 Mother of Exiles!  LO and Behold...a Bordeaux blend!!---70% Cabernet sauvignon, 20% Petite verdot and 10% Cab Franc.  Just a little interesting twist for the evening! So who says Paso is ONLY about The Rhones?  Move over have some serious competition here.

And finally.....when unveiled, bag #4 contained
Saxum's  Heartstone Vineyards, 2008.  A classic Paso GSM (or maybe SGM, as it is more heavily Syrah based).  A huge yet smooth Rhone blend...exhibiting the qualities you expect in these three Rhone varietals.  Dark fruits, spices, licorice and a finish that went on.....  It will be fun to see how this one evolves over the next many years as it grows up and gains age and maturity.

And...THE MOMENT OF TRUTH....the FINAL RATINGS FOR THE EVENING!  As the good Dr. Mike said:  It REALLY isn't fair to compare and score the more subtle, sexy and smooth Napa cabs against the bigger, Paso fruit bombs-----as we love them all.  So....that kept in mind.....they were ALL winners!  How could they not be....with 4 distinctively different wines exhibiting a plethora of individuality and personality, and maturity.  Flavors and textures changing by the minute as they were paired with a variety of foods and cheeses, exhibiting personalities as different as those of the people around the table.

Wine is so individualistic...and who can say that any one of these 4 (or 5 if you count the Sauvignon Blanc) was better than the other!  They simply all contributed to another winederful evening of expressive fun, flavor and friendship.

THIS was a winning night for everyone----


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