Perfectly paired last night with a nutmeggy veal and oat meatload with sauteed chanterelles, a 2003 Arcadian 'Sleepy Hollow Vy" (Santa Lucia Highlands, California) pinot noir: I've opined many times that my favorite stage for most wines is middle age, where the trail from the young primary fruit remains obvious but where age has endowed a lot of nuance, and this wine was perfectly there. Generous pinot nose in the Santa Barbara style with spiced cherries, tomato skin, tomato leaf fresh thyme and a toasted note (that thankfully dissipated), and more on the palate with black fig, plum and cola notes. Body and concentration were nicely rich for a nine year old. Poured straight from the bottle, the wine gained complexity in the glass and the second glass was better than the first--it's great now and will be for years ahead.
Earlier in the week we opened a 2001 Soos Creek Red Wine that I'd recently acquired. About 60% cabernet with a large chunk of merlot and lesser amounts of cab franc and petit verdot, it's near the end of its life--all the flavors are secondary, and the tannins pretty much gone--but it remains elegant, balanced and enjoyable for a wine not intended for aging. Very good, we liked.
Guests here to watch the first game of the Series brought a 2008 Lavender Hill Mouvedre from the Sierra Foothills region of California. Barnyardy in the good way, and surprisingly mature for a wine only four years old, with leafy notes, bacon and sweet warm spiced plum flavors on the palate. Enough acid to keep it light and pretty but no tannins left to speak of, it was good+ and plenty tasty for a wine hopefully $20 or less. If much more than that, I would be disappointed by the rapid aging.
Also on game night, since our friends tend to prefer the sweeter, bolder end of dry New World reds, I pulled this Barossa Valley orphan out of the cellar to serve next, a 2006 Tait Basket Pressed Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky black with sweet blackberry and black currant on the nose along with that smack of dill-y American oak, it was a bulls-eye choice for our friends and actually pretty good with the bold and varied flavors of the buffet I served. Glad I only had one bottle, though.