1996 Laurel Glen, Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain:
12.5% alcohol; expansive nose with all sorts of red fruit and chocolate tones, accents of herb and earth, quite complex; extraordinary balance in the mouth and without edges, flavors echo the nose, richness without cloy, concentration without being extractive, complete and with great finesse, but again, balance is the lasting impression; long, delicious finish. A mature wine without being an old wine. Some secondary development, well resolved but does not lack grip and as pretty a cabernet based wine as I have had in years. A recent ’94 of this bottling showed more age and less fruit, albeit, still enjoyable. This bottle was at a whole different level.
At peak (or at least, one of them).
2007 and 2008 Edmunds St. John, Prophyry:
Both 13.0% alcohol and sourced from the Barsotti Ranch in El Dorado County; the 2008 is under screw-cap, the 2007 under Diam cork and the difference is noticeable with the ’08 being almost barrel sample-like and the ’07 smelling and tasting of chocolate-covered currants and seeming more developed; both are more black fruit than red and both are well balanced. Personally, I like the 2007’s complexity and nuance but these are two are very pretty gamays.
2006 Pepière, Muscadet Clos des Briords magnum:
12% alcohol; closed on day one; several days later this has become quite full and rich yet still bright, stony and with plenty of cut; it accompanies salmon cakes as though it were made for no other purpose and its length is astonishing. But based on day one performance, I will let even my 750’s sleep.
2005 Dom. Vissoux, Fleurie Poncié:
12.5% alcohol; . . . I am not sure how many cases of this I bought but this is my last bottle; obviously, I should have saved some but its my favorite wine and I just don’t care about what it will be tomorrow. ‘Had this on my 60th birthday, had it when my grandson was born and every bottle I have opened has brought me pleasure. No less so now; still flamboyant cassis and black fruit on the nose; rich, textured and deep in the mouth with lots of concentration, some development and a long, delicious finish. With grilled chicken, the bomb.
A fond farewell to a wine I will not forget.
2009 Edmunds St. John, Rocks and Gravel:
13.8% alcohol, 50% syrah, 42% grenache and 8% mourvèdre; on release this was really delightful but it is closed now and even a couple days on the counter did not help. This needs time . . . lots of it.