Monday, November 26, 2007

Sunday Suppers at the Majestic Grille

Last night Kelly, Richie, Meagan & I went to the Majestic Grille for their Sunday Supper. The menu included a winter green salad with cucumber, tomato, feta, onion & red wine vinaigrette; pork loin braised with apples & cider, rosemary & garlic potatoes, smashed roasted parsnips & carrots & a warm apple cake with chantilly cream. All this food for only $60 (which feeds 4).

The salad was bright & delicious, with a bitter hit from the greens, crispness from the cucumber, yummy salty feta, tart & delicious red wine vinaigrette, an overall winner of a salad.

The main course of pork loin was perfectly tender & moist. Braising in apples & cider created a rich and savory sauce that was a perfect foil to the tender pork. Add to that earthy parsnips & carrots & rosemary potatoes, all in all it was a perfect dish for a cold evening. Not to mention a perfect match for a glass of MontGras Reserva Merlot from their new wine list.

So we come to dessert. From our table I could see into the kitchen where Chef Patrick Reilly was putting the finishing touches on our warm apple cake. When it hit the table I immediately was hit with a spicy sweet aroma & I instantly began to drool. This was warm, moist, spicy & not too sweet. I hope and pray that they put this cake on their regular dessert menu so we can have it more often.

Everyone should try Majestic Grille's Sunday Suppers. Last nights meal was superb & we will be sure to return for more.

Ridge Vertical

I have been lucky enough to have acquired, over time, 3 different vintages of Ridge Geyserville. This is the winery's description of the Geyserville vineyard:

First RIDGE Geyserville:
Location: Western edge of Alexander Valley, Sonoma County.
Elevation: 200'
Soils: Gravelly loam
Age of vines: 40-year-old zinfandel, 12 acres.
11-year-old zinfandel, 15 acres.
121-year-old mixed blacks, 5 acres.
21-year-old petite sirah, 5 acres.
11-year-old petite sirah, 3.5 acres.
111-year-old carignane, 7 acres.
Training: Head trained (no trellis), spur pruned.
Yields: 1-3 tons/acre
Climate: Occasional morning fog, warm days with frequent evening breezes.
Exposure: Southern

This particular vineyard is owned by Leo & Evelyn Trentadue.

Michael Barar so nicely provided us with a bottle of 2005 Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Chardonnay, which just so happened to have been named #2 on Wine Spectator's Top 100 of 2007. Check out this pdf file on the vineyard. The color was pure golden straw. On the nose were aromas of cream, lemon curd, kaffir lime & orange. The palate showed minerals, lemon, fresh bright acid, lemon leaf & a long long finish.

Okay, so here goes.

First up is the 2001 Geyserville. It held a purple core that stretched to a ruby tinted rim. The nose held aromas of fig, soil, blackberry, black raspberry & licorice. What immediately struck me about the palate was the vibrant acid, it was so fresh & lively. Flavors of blackberry liqueur, spice & star anise led into firm tannins. I wish I had a few more bottles of this because it will continue to develop nicely.

Next was the 2002. The core was purple colored leaning to a ruby-pink rim. The nose displayed fig, blueberry, raspberry & milk chocolate. On the palate were firm grained tannins, light dustiness, flavors of cocoa powder, raspberry & tannins that hit the hard palate on the roof of my mouth.

The 2003 held a darker color than the 2002. Aromas of dark chocolate covered raspberry with smoke & red currant leaped out of the glass. The palate was tight & needs time to develop. Aromas of fresh red fruit was slightly diminished but there was evidence of a great wine that just needed some bottle age.

Last but not least (thanks to Richie & Meagan) was the 2004. The color was slightly more translucent than the 2003, almost a pure ruby color. The nose was very elegant with light cinnamon, lavender, rosemary, fennel & brown sugar. A fresh bright acid, reminiscent of the 01, drove a palate that was drier than the 02 or 03. Flavors of licorice, pretty red & black fruit drifted on a long finish that goes on & on. Wow.

Overall it was an eye opening experience. Throughout their subtle differences the family resemblance & terroir of Geyserville was evident. I hope I get to participate in many more vertical tastings.


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Winter Wines

Check out my latest article. Winter is my favorite season, and I'm so glad we are actually getting one this year. Of course, the moment I say that it will turn to 70 degrees and humid. No such thing as global warming??????????

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Bicycle Built for Two

I recently tasted a few wines from Tandem Winery at Star Distributor's holiday trade show. The standout was the 2004 Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir. The first thing that struck me was the beautifully translucent ruby color. It is exactly the way a good pinot should look. I've grown a bit weary of pinot noirs that are overly aggressive and almost syrah-like. What struck me next was the lively aromas of clove & cinnamon. I know those aren't classic aromas, but they were so intoxicating. Those spice aromas led straight into a luscious textured palate that covered my mouth in velvet. I can't wait to taste it again.

Cuckoo for Aussies

Check out my latest article here. Dan Phillips is a bit intense, and his responses show just that. Ego is one thing, but C'MON!