August 28, 2010

1982 Hanzell Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Valley

I've written here before about Hanzell Wines and their amazing ability to age. Their Pinot Noirs have proven to be some of the longest lived from California and they quietly continue to produce world-class wines. My brother was in town a couple of weeks ago, and I treated him to a 1982 Hanzell Cabernet Sauvignon. 1982 was by no means and amazing year for Sonoma Cabernet; yet, as it has been said, good producers make good wines, regardless.

The 1982 was really quite stunning. The bottle, nearly 30 years on, was in perfect shape, as was the cork. The wine showed mature Cabernet fruit, along with some notes of leather and tobacco. To be honest, the wine tasted almost youthful thanks to the hint of acidity that is just hanging in. Really beautiful representation of classic California Cabernet flavors, textures, and body.

In a time, when big, sappy, overripe wines tend to to get big scored and cult followings, Hanzell remains a winery that makes and made classic wines to be treasured and remembered. I highly recommend you finding some...

August 23, 2010

1997 Arcadian Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard

I've posted many times here on one of my favorite California wineries: Arcadian. Joe Davis, winemaker and owner of Arcadian, strives to make wines that "Challenge the Style of the New World." His Pinot Noirs, Syrah, and Chardonnay speak of old world sensibilities; they show lower alcohol levels, bright acidity, and most have the ability to age longer than most of their California counterparts.

A case in point for the ability of aging Arcadian wines is the 1997 Arcadian Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow recently opened when my brother was in town. I will say, as I have before, that Joe Davis is a master with fruit from the Sleepy Hollow Vineyard in Monterey.

The 1997 was memorable once again. The wine looked mature; it was a cloudy pinkish-orange in the glass. There was, as is often characteristic of Arcadian pinots, still a good dose of lively acid keeping the wine feeling fresh. Tart cherry fruit and cranberry notes danced amidst a nose that smelled smoky and slightly funky. It was, alas, my last bottle. Sad to see it go, but it was a good ride

August 17, 2010

Big Green Egg Fun: Smoked Pork Butt

I had been wanting to get a Big Green Egg for some time. I recently had a big birthday (hint: see my posts on 1970 Bordeaux), and my wife was cool enough to surprise me with a BGE for my birthday.
This past weekend, I was able to spend some time cooking a 4lb boneless pork butt on the BGE.

I rubbed the butt with the mix that David Chang uses for his pork shoulder in his Pork Ramen dish in the Momofuku cookbook. It's pretty complicated rub using many exotic ingredients...I kid. Chang uses equal parts salt and sugar. I tossed in some cumin and cayenne just for giggles. I let the rubbed pork sit in the fridge for 12 hours before tossing it on the BGE.

I got the fire cranked up around 10:30 Sunday morning. After 15 minutes or so of finessing, I got the temp to stay around 225 degrees.
And the temp stayed there, almost exactly, for 7 hours. I checked in on it every 30 minutes or so (when I was home), and just slight adjustments to the top and lower vents kept the temp in the 220-240 zone all day. I set the pork butt for indirect heating by placing it on a rack above a cast iron skillet that caught all the goodness the pork butt left behind.
A picture of the butt at the two hour mark

A picture of the pork butt at the four hour mark.

The finished butt after 7 hours on the BGE (sorry crappy phone pic).
The pork was incredibly tasty. A nice crisp bark on the exterior and flavorful and succulent pork that just shredded with ease. I did think that pork ended up a bit salty, but every recipe of Chang's I've made has tasted a bit salty for me.

 I also finished some red potatoes in the pork fat that the butt left behind in the cast iron skillet.Yummy stuff.
What to drink with this goodness? A meaty and dark Syrah, the 2005 Arcadian Syrah Santa Ynez.
If ever a Cali Syrah was made for bbq, it would be one of Joe Davis' Arcadian Syrahs. The wine showed dark fruit and a meaty essences that echoed perfectly off the deep bbq pork. Delicious.

August 12, 2010

Burgers, Fries, 1970 Bordeaux and More

Continuing on with opening my 1970 Bordeaux, I recently opened the last couple of 1970s I was holding. Monday night, we had a fun burger party prepared by Rowdyfood, with killer McDonald's-styled french fries made by EatItAtlanta who used the method perfected by Kenji.
The fries were awesome, and a perfect compliment to Rowdy's house-ground, Riverview Farms grass-fed beef burgers.

Per usual, we opened a lot of wine, including a sublime 1990 Krug Brut for starters.
We moved on to several very nice white and red burgundies.

After much food and wine, we opened the two 1970 Bordeaux. Both bottles looked to be in pretty good shape, with intact labels and very top shoulder fills.
First up was the 1970 Chateau Leoville Barton which showed really rather green with strong vinegar and acid notes. The risk one takes with opening 40 year old wines is that it's not uncommon to find wines that are past their prime.

The 1970 Chateau Lanessan had a better showing. The Lanessan also started off rather green with jalapeno and dill notes, but with time, some reddish fruit showed on the palate that was also leathery and dank. Not a blockbuster, and it probably never was, but a fun showing for a 40 year old Lanessan.

Most importantly, it was another good time with some good dudes, including this guy ------------------------------------------------->>

August 8, 2010

1970 Chateau Gloria Saint-Julien, 1970 Chateau Cantemerle

As promised, more notes on some 1970 Bordeaux opened recently. There's a good reason I've been opening some 1970s lately, I leave it up to you to put the pieces together as to why...
A couple of nights ago, we opened the 1970 Chateau Gloria and 1970 Chateau Cantemerle. Neither of these wines are classified superstars, even when young, and in great vintages, they are just good wines. That being said, the 1970 Gloria was a damn fine bottle of wine. The Cantemerle was, sadly, tired and past drinkability.
The Gloria was vibrant and youthful, a color of deep ruby. Looked younger in the glass than the 13 year old pinot next to it. It showed a nose of cedar, rosemary, and leather. Beauty of a nose, really. Palate was nicely balanced. Expansive and full in the mouth, there is sweet cherry fruit and just a hint of a spine. Drinking beautifully and quite a nice showing for this wine. The entire table liked this wine and called out for more when it was gone.

August 2, 2010

1970 Leoville Poyferre Saint-Julien

Haven't posted much in the past week. Was enjoying time with the family down on Tybee Island. Had a good, albeit scorchingly hot time. To get the juices flowing again, I'm posting on a wine that I didn't get a chance to write about last week. You may see some notes on wines from 1970 popping up from me lately....I'll leave you to take a guess as to why...cheers!

Last week I had some of the usual suspects over for dinner and wine. After several Burgundies, I pulled out an old Bordeaux to check to see if it was still alive. 1970 was a decent vintage in Bordeaux, though most wines showed their best stuff years ago.

The 1970 Chateau Leoville Poyferre (Medoc-Saint-Julien) was a nice end to the evening. The wine opened with a nose of green olive and strong notes of dill. It became dark and leathery with air. Their was a strong tobacco scent, too, with a still powerful presence to the palate. Probably better years ago, but really quite nice. Much better than Robert Parker's score of 65 points in 1983!