Tasting Notes: US Wines
Elk Cove Wines (All wines listed below were of exceptional quality; in particular, the Riesling was our #1 Riesling of the year! Wine maker Adam Campbell is definitely becoming a master of his art. Be sure to mention us when you visit the winery)
- 1996 Clonal Selection Chardonnay This wine is rich, and has texture creamy with intense citrus and peach flavors; the acidity is firm which gives structure to the wine and bodes well for longevity. The wine was fermented in new French Oak barrels and remained on the yeast (sur lie) for six months.
- 1998 ULTIMA Riesling A lush, rich, ripe Riesling from a terrific vintage. Aromas of honeydew melon and apricot introduce broad full flavors of peach pie. A lengthy finish bodes well for this wine which should age beautifully for 10 or more years. *** #1 Riesling of the year (EWTG)
- 1997 Pinot Noir "La Boheme" This wine has a dense ruby color, and aromas of raspberry and cherry fruit. The wine has delicious fruit flavors, earthy mushroom overtones and a velvety texture balanced with French oak. It should reach its full potential in the latter half of the next decade.
Goosecross Wines (all the wines listed were magnificent; Goosecross has a knack for consistently producing excellent Chardonnays, and their Zinfandel was simply astonishing! Director Colleen Topper is a wonderful and gracious person; be sure to mention us when you visit the winery)
- 1996 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon This “maiden flight” Napa Cab sports an eloquent and distinctive new version of the prized Goosecross label, with a deep rich purple hue replacing the teal common to the well known Goosecross Chardonnay edition. The wine provides a beautiful and bountiful array of raspberry, plum, rhubarb, and sweet black cherries. A bouquet of boysenberry jam and mint surrounds medium body, firm tannins and subtle oak tones. The wine finishes soft and dry. A truly wonderful experience that is ready to be enjoyed now but will age gracefully for years to come.
- 1996 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon Well-rounded elegant nose of blackberries, cherries and a whisper of chocolate kisses. Forward cherry flavors, anise, sweet oak, and euclyptus taper off to intense, even, tannin. The finish is dry and lingers with dark ripe Bing cherry flavors and a hint of nutmeg.
- 1998 Sauvignon Blanc Sensuously soft wine with a hint of rose petal aromas, this vintage presents soft notes of pineapple with hints of grapefruit, pear, nutmeg spice and soft tropical fruits. The citrus tones finish smooth vanilla cream and subtle toasted oak.
- 1997 Chardonnay The culmination of the blend is an intense fully ripe fruit character of baked apple, guava, orange, cinnamon, lemon, and vanilla toasted oak. The nose is rich of lemon blossom and peach. This is a well-balanced wine with complex body and structure. When cellared properly, this vintage can be enjoyed for several years from release date.
- 1996 Winemakers Reserve Chardonnay This wine proudly presents forward, complex aromas with light floral accents of crisp ripe apple, orange blossom and ripe pineapple undertones. Bright orange and lemon flavors on the palette finish with soft, lingering creamy tones of toasted vanilla spice.
- 1997 Zinfandel A very-berry Zinfandel! A zesty and complex range of strawberry, boysenberry, wild berry, cherry, plum, blackberry, and raspberry playfully dance on the palate while hints of pepper and vanilla spice finish this Zin with zip!
- Pesenti Gewurztraminer (NV). Strong grapefruit aroma and only a slight spiciness that did not live up to the characteristic punch of Gerwurzt's. Long dry (slightly spicy) finish would make this wine ok with spicy Korean or Thai food, but was highly complemented by Havartii.
- 1990 Creston Merlot. Highly tanic (enough to give you a headache if you drank more than a glass) but had a nice blackberry scent. This wine spent a little too
much time in oak, but might improve in several years.
- 1991 St. Supery Chardonnay. Very clean, dry and fruity, with hints of citrus, and a nice vanilla in the finish. If you can find this wine around anymore, try it with fish or poultry.
- 1994 Beaulieu Cab. Not too great, VERY tannicy and acidic. Poorly balanced, with overpowering tannins and wood.
- 1994 St. Clement Cab. Extraordinary. Slight raspberry scent, mouth-filling but refreshing body. Just the right tannins, oak, slight black cherry and vanilla flavours that were miraculously balanced. Medium finish that lingered with oak and vanilla accents. Wonderful to drink.
- 1995 Gossamer Bay Chardonnay. The grapefruit and light peach nose of this wine complemented its light and refreshing flavor of mango and grapefruit which was accented with a crisp acidity. It's light finish would make it an excellent choice alone or with a fish or light poultry dish.
- 1995 Beaulieu Pinot Noir. Strong cherry and raspberry aroma and light "rose" color. This was a good wine, so-so balanced fruit, slightly citrus/spicy flavor. Not enough aging in oak (I think those oak chips were involved in it's making), but would be a wonderful complement to a pork-chop or heavy chicken and stove-top dinner.
- 1996 Willamette Riesling (Oregon). Grapefruit and citrus aroma and a sweet to off-dry taste make this wine excellent. Light, refreshing, with a short tart finish. This wine is definitely ready to drink now, but could be aged for several years to increase its surprisingly rich flavor. Everyone loved this wine.
- 1996 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon. Our thanks again to Robert Mondavi for allowing us to try this wine, which, while EXCELLENT, would normally have been a little out of our price range. A very strong scent and robust flavor characterize this cab. Strong tannins, and many fruit flavors could be detected: much to his dismay, Omar detected currants; along with blackberry, smoky oak, and cedar. The finish was long and harmonious with the early aroma. If we hadn't opened it for the tasting, I would have let it sit in my cellar for 2 years, and would have still probably drank it 4-6 years too early. If you have $40, buy one, let it sit, and let me know.
- 1996 Orange Muscat Essentia. Strong tangerine scents, sweet orange and tangelo taste that wasn't too surypy (as many muscats are). Excellent with dark chocolate....thanks, Jim. Medium body and refreshing.
- 1996 Glen Ellen Proprietor's Reserve Zinfandel. So-so wine which was definitely made with new-world technology and not much art.
- 1996 St. Supery Cabernet Sauvignon. A very well-balanced wine with clear and luscious raspberry fruit that later turned to a more cherry note in the midpalate. Very long and silky finish.... could stand up to even the heartiest of meals.
- 1997 Robert Mondavi Reserve Chardonnay. A very oaky chardonnay, with strong citrus (lemon and tangerine) aromas. The citrus theme follows the wine into the mouth, and result in a slightly tart flavor. Definitely cook chicken with this wine... the only drawback here is that the more you use it to cook, the less you have for your glass.
- 1997 Stags Leap Merlot. This was an excellent wine, and will most likely remain so for a few years. The aroma has many complex fruit scents, the strongest of which were black cherry and plum. A chocolate and blackberry flavor add significantly to the wine's character; the finish is long and mellow. Although priced a little high, this wine was worth the money, and will go tremendously with almost any dish (Omar recommended filet mignon, of course).
- 1997 Geyser Peak Merlot. Strong black-berry and plum can be detected immediately; tones of blueberry and raspberry can also be detected; the finish is medium, yet pronounced.
- 1997 Talus Cabernet Sauvignon. Very good wine for the money. Strong fruit (melon and raspberry) aromas initiate this wine, and fruity flavors and surprising acidity follow onto the tongue. The medium is nice, and the finish is short... but enjoyable. Probably good with a burger, but could even fool the filet mignon crowd.
- 1997 Wente Chardonnay. Another great buy. Scents of citrus (one member even said pineapple, but it was late in the night and the OH groups may have been kicking in) open this wine, and the tast is toasty and spicy. Tastes somewhat like oranges right off the tree. Would go great with macadamia nut encrusted salmon.
- 1998 Robert Mondavi Coastal Merlot. Our gratitude is due to Robert Mondavi winery for giving us a preview of this wonderful wine. The nose has scents of cherry, plum, and blackberry (some said.... I couldn't detect the blackberry). Rather drier than most merlots, but the tannins were tame and helped balance the wine. Fruit enveloped the entire tongue, and a slight spiciness helped distinguish this merlot. Will be very good next year and possibly into 2001.