September 27, 2009

Parker's On Ponce With Two Terrific Cali Cabernets

We found ourselves at Parker's On Ponce again this weekend. I've chronicled our visits to Parker's here before; in August, and May. Each time I return to Parker's I want them to hit it out the park, and they just can't get there for me. There is nothing really wrong with Parker's, but there's nothing outrageously good about Paker's either. Therein lies my dilemma. Last night, they struggled again with cooking meats to the right temperature. The lamb lollipops and ribeyes that should have been medium rare were nearly rare. The mushroom portobello mushroom dish was probably the highlight, along with the fried calamari appetizer, which Parker's has mastered.
We brought two killer, hard to find Cabernets with us ( I do love Parker's ZERO CORKAGE policy!)

The 2001 Neal Family Cabernet ($40) was in a great groove. We decanted it at the table for 30 minutes. It showed as a nicely maturing Cabernet with currant, cedar, and pencil notes. Just delicious and drinking on point. This beauty just kept unfolding over the two hours we sat with it. A wonderful wine. I wish all my Cali Cabernet experiences were this good.

The 2005 Justin Isosceles Reserve($75) is a bruiser. A blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. While the Neal was drinking perfectly, the Isosceles is in need of years to shed its youthful brashness. It's a huge, modern styled wine that tips the scales at 15.2% alcohol. The ripe-rich fruit and higher alcohol is not a style I'm loving these days, but this is a terrific wine. And, the Isoscles will get ya' loaded real quick if you just want to get freaky! Not cheap.


  1. Neal makes some great wines, but they are not the easiest things to find. I think 7-10 years is a great time for Napa cabs to be consumed and you probably got this one at peak.

    I've not had any Justin in a while, but 15.2% is up there, especially for a blend. Wines like that can be exhausting to consume.

  2. Thanks Kevin. Neal does make very nice wines. Their Zins can be nice values around $20, too. I don't buy Neal regularly, but stocked up on the '01s back in the day. Finally showing well.
    The Justin was quite nice, just seemed like a bruiser next to the more mature Neal. Not a great pairing in the same night I suppose.

  3. Dude, I can't believe you opened that Isosceles Reserve... WAY before its time... That thing shouldn't be openened for another 4 to 5 years at a minimum... did you see any potential in it?